For petrolheads, there’s one place in Launceston that simply has to be at the top of the to-do list. However, you don’t have to be a car or bike fanatic to enjoy the National Automobile Museum of Tasmania. Even those mums and sisters who get dragged here under duress quickly find that they’re having the best time among the unique vehicles on display.
The National Automobile Museum of Tasmania is privately owned and run with the help of volunteers. These enthusiasts all share the aim of preserving a part of Tasmanian history that many people don’t normally think about: the part that the car and the motorcycle played in the development of the state.
Located on the corner of Cimitiere and Willis Streets, right across from City Park, the museum focuses on the quality of the displays rather than cramming in as much as possible under one roof. Every year they choose four themes for the displays in the main hall. These themes can be about something specific, like a homage to the Rolls Royce, or they can be more general, like a display of family cars through the ages.
Regularly revolving the themes for the displays means that there is always something new to see at the museum, no matter how many times you’ve visited before. It also means that the best vehicles can be exhibited, since private owners are more willing to allow the museum to display their beloved cars, bikes or related memorabilia if it’s only for a few months at a time.
The museum normally features more than 100 exhibits, which not only include the cars in the main hall but also an extensive and very impressive collection of motorbikes on the mezzanine floor. The Tasmanian Motorsport Hall of Fame is also housed at the museum and here you’ll find memorabilia related to the people who have made their mark on motorsport in the state.
For many visitors a highlight is the gift shop, where you can pick up unique car-related items that would make the perfect birthday or Christmas present.
The National Automobile Museum of Tasmania is open every day except Christmas Day. In summer, the museum and gift shop are open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm while in winter, the opening times are from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. There are special admission rates for families and you can also buy an annual admission pass so you can come back and visit again and again.